I’ve been contemplating the demise of my running community.
I don’t want to be overly dramatic about these things, but our corporate benefactor unceremoniously dumped us. Well, to be precise, the corporate-run running shoppe where many of us first met and trained, and which continues to act as a bit of a membership feeder for our ragtag group, has opted to put a timeline on their continued presence at their current location.
Leases. Markets. Profits. Blah, blah, blah. I can rationally respect the business decision, but it does sting a little bit that they have given virtually zero acknowledgement that our little “run club” collective is bigger than the store, and it has been for the better part of a decade. That they bring people, but we keep them coming. That they create an incentive, but we build a team and provide support. That they provide a location, but we provide a community.
Of course, some –many– folks will follow to the new location. New runners will be lured by the call of a brand new store opening. Yet for some, especially we who have put sweat and tears into building the little crew that has united us in a worldwide pursuit of achieving race goals, it has not gone unspoken that there must be something we can do to keep the group afloat, particularly how and where we are now, besides just dutifully following the store to the suburban strip-mall where corporate headquarters has deemed we now must run from and hoping things stay gelled in the same way.
Technology is only part of the answer, and maybe not the best one, but it is an answer I can throw a few handfuls of effort towards. So, last night I registered and then did my website magic wherein I laid the foundations for:
First and foremost, a searchable “hey, look at us… we’re running here” spot on the web where someone searching for “runners in edmonton” or “edmonton run clubs” might stumble across us and ask for a WTFisUp referral to some local running and race training.
Second, and because I haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaate Facebook, a social community that is outside of all the little chat and network apps that are creating a scattered collection of people who are struggling to communicate and plan effectively. That’s the tough slog: I get that. Another website, another group, another thing to join, but even if that part flops, the website and a few modest posts about our training might be enough to bring the 5 or more new members each year to keep us a viable group.
If nothing else, it was 12 bucks for a domain and I can hand out some email addresses if people want them.
If you are more than just a lurker, head over to www.coffeecrew.ca and sign up with an account. Set up a profile. Say something. Participate. Don’t take these fragile communities for granted.